Social networks are becoming the new face of the Internet. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, have long been the starting point for web navigation. But, there may be a shift in progress that places social network sites front-and-center for web browsing.
The Manatee Chamber of Commerce held a seminar last week concerning Internet-based social networking as a business tool. Troy Newport of Webtivity Designs in Bradenton provided a compelling illustration of the amazing scope of social connections on the Internet.
As an example, Newport described an advertising campaign established by Old Spice in February. Isaiah Mustafa has gained great notoriety lately as the wry, shirtless “Old Spice Guy.” It started with a commercial during the 2010 Superbowl. In the following months the company has continued to draw unprecedented attention through TV, YouTube and Twitter.
Before the commercial was released, Old Spice posted a Mustafa clip on YouTube. Within a week, it had been viewed 30,000 times. On the day of the Superbowl, its views jumped to 250,000.
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Seeing that its sand “was now diamonds,” Old Spice continued to feature Mustafa on television. In July, the company began a campaign on Twitter.
For those who have managed to avoid Twitter, it is a social networking platform that allows users to “Tweet” their current status or comments, which are then received by their network of Twitter followers.
Old Spice asked its followers to send in questions for its handsome spokesman. They then created and posted 186 personalized YouTube responses within two days. Mustafa addressed followers by name, in his husky bravado, and created a tidal wave of interest.
Old Spice reported a total of 1.4 billion views as a result of their Twitter/YouTube campaign. And, sales of its body wash skyrocketed. The brand that used to be dismissed as your grandfather’s aftershave was suddenly at the top of its market.
Facebook reports that it has over 500 million users. Kevin McNulty of Net Weave Social Networking, also a presenter at the chamber’s seminar, noted that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. McNulty reported that on March 13 of this year, Facebook referred more traffic on the Internet than Google did. Since people are more likely to use a friend’s business referral than to make contact through a blind search, Facebook may eventually have the upper hand in Internet web browsing. McNulty believes that Facebook is “becoming for many the preferred method for accessing the Internet.”
Individuals can maintain a profile on Facebook, while businesses create a page. Businesses want to broadcast to anyone and everyone, but regular folks may want to be more cautious. Adjust your profile’s default settings so that all content is not visible to “everyone.” Go to Account then Privacy Settings to specify how visible you want to be to the world wide web. Adjust Basic Directory Information (click “View Settings”) as well as sharing on Facebook. Be sure to get familiar with suggested security practices.
There are many who like their privacy and chose to ignore Facebook and Twitter networks. Businesses, however, may not be able to avoid tapping into the personal connections that Internet-based social networks provide.
Patty Harshbarger, owner of Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at (941) 753-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.